“Better Together” the message of St Boniface for 2020
The life of Devon’s patron saint, St Boniface, shows us that we are better working together than alone, according to the Bishop of Crediton, the Right Reverend Jackie Searle.
In a reflection to mark St Boniface day on 5 June, she says that just as St Boniface found his mission flourished when he teamed-up with others, people have found new ways of working together to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
She said “Over these recent difficult months we have seen people come together to support one another.
“Clergy, churches, communities and schools have adapted with agility and creativity to ensure worship and education continue in our own homes, and foodbanks and other networks of practical support have been helping those in need.”
The saint who established schools and hospitals
St Boniface was made Devon’s patron saint in 2019 following a vote by Devon County Council and the endorsement of Bishop Robert, the Bishop of Exeter, and Bishop Mark, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth.
St Boniface was born in Crediton in AD 675. He is celebrated both here and in Europe as someone who helped people find faith and hope in Jesus Christ, and who established schools and hospitals, making a huge difference to their lives.
Last June, Bishop Jackie led a service to commemorate St Boniface in the town’s parish church. She also took part in a procession to his statue in a nearby park.
Here is her reflection in full:
St Boniface could have opted for a relatively safe existence. As a young man he entered the monastery in Exeter and could have continued his monastic life.
He was known as a great preacher, fiercely intelligent and immensely gifted. But, instead of staying, he offered himself as a missionary and set off to northern Germany full of enthusiasm and passion for the Gospel.
However, his first mission was a disaster – no-one responded to his message. He came back to England, utterly disheartened, and went to Wimborne Minister in Dorset seeking the wisdom of the Abbess there.
We do not know what she said, but after some time he returned to Germany, this time with nuns from Wimborne who prayed and offered practical support, education and hospitality to those in need. How different his mission this time – thousands of people were baptised.
This says something to me about church in our time. We have seen it so strongly through recent months when Covid19 has caused so much havoc.
We are stronger together: Boniface’s mission flourished when part of a team, and when his message was put into action with love and service.
Over these recent difficult months we have seen people come together to support one another.
Clergy, churches, communities and schools have adapted with agility and creativity to ensure worship and education continue in our own homes, and foodbanks and other networks of practical support have been helping those in need.
St Boniface was courageous and his path wasn’t easy -in the end it cost him his life.
It was on 5 June AD 754, whilst waiting to confirm some new Christians in their faith, that he was killed by a band of mercenaries.
This is why we remember him on 5 June, giving thanks for his life and example.
May we too be courageous in working together to make a difference for the good of all. Happy St Boniface Day!